The Arlington School District’s Books on the Bus and Mathmobile programs have returned this year to provide summer learning outreach until early August.
The Books on the Bus program has been going on for several years and delivers books of all reading levels that can be checked out and returned following week.
“We just started with an outreach program to help kids in the summer, because the number one thing that happens in the summer is that kids lose their reading skills,” said Kim Deisher-Allen, a first grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary and one of the organizers of the program.
“And three years ago we also started the Mathmobile,” she said.
The math program also brings a bus to various locations around the community to provide teachers with math-based games to help keep students skills up.
The Books on the Bus program is available every Wednesday until Aug. 11.
It stops at Presidents Elementary from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., at Crown Ridge Estates from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., at Mobile Estates from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Timbers Apartments from 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and at Eagle Creek Elementary from 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Mathmobile program runs every Monday until Aug. 9.
It has the same stops and times as the Books on the Bus program, except that it does not make a final stop at Eagle Creek Elementary.
The book program was able to operate last year, however students did not get on the bus and browse through books like they were normally able to.
Instead, teachers and paraeducators made packs of books they brought out to the kids.
“Those are based upon their level of reading and interest, and we just usually show them three or four sets of books and see which books work for them,” said Deisher-Allen. “They come back next week and are able to tell us if the books were too easy or too hard and then we give them new books."
Parents appreciate both of the Arlington programs.
“I think it’s great,” said local parent Rachel White. “I think it’s just the fact that it’s so easily accessible for them and they have great teachers that have been helping them along."
This year the program is seeing about 70 kids each week, while last year they saw around 85 to 100 kids each week.
“I think it’s going well. Everywhere we pull in there’s kids there waiting for us,” said Deisher-Allen.
The Books on the Bus program has books for all levels, even those who have not yet begun reading, she said.
“Even though families have lots of books at home, they’re not always at that pre-reader level,” she said.
While local libraries have only had distance services available over the last year, the district’s book program has also helped increase access to reading for children, said Deisher-Allen. “I think it gives families structure and routine, and especially because they haven’t been able to go to the library for a while, they just look forward to it."